An entrepreneur who went on 'Shark Tank' to pitch his 3-month-old startup in front of a national audience relied on an unusual memory technique to avoid panicking and forgetting his script
Courtesy of Jack Mann
- On an episode of "Shark Tank," Vibes founder Jack Mann received a $100,000 offer from Kevin O'Leary. He turned it down.
- Mann was initially nervous about messing up his pitch, so he hired a speech coach, who taught him an unusual memory technique.
- The memory technique involved associating keywords from each paragraph with a different image. Mann delivered his pitch seamlessly.
Between the day Jack Mann was approved to appear on "Shark Tank" and the day the episode was filmed, there were about five weeks.
"It was a stressful time that month; I'll tell you that," Mann told Business Insider. Mann is the founder of Vibes, a company that makes reusable earplugs designed to preserve sound quality. Vibes was just three months old when the episode was filmed.
Mann told Business Insider that, going into the show, he was less nervous about preparing answers to the Sharks' questions and more so about delivering his opening pitch. Specifically, he was worrying about his mind going blank in the middle.
"I hadn't done much public speaking previously, and definitely hadn't done anything to that magnitude on television," he said.
So he hired a speech coach, who guided him in using a specific memory technique.
As Mann explained it, you simply associate a keyword in each paragraph of your speech with a different image. Then you work your way clockwise through the group of images, "rather than think through what's the next thing you were trying to say."
For example, Mann said, you might use an image of a house to remember to talk about your background and where you're from.
"Things really go wrong when you forget what you're trying to say and you slip up," Mann said - something that's happened before on the "Shark Tank" stage. "So I found that [technique] helpful."
Mann delivered his pitch seamlessly and received a $100,000 offer
Mann's memory technique is similar to another, research-backed strategy, called the "method of loci" or the "memory palace."
Using that strategy, you associate each item you're trying to remember with a specific image and place. As you walk through the different places in your mind, you're reminded of the items they're linked to.
Ron White, a two-time national memory champion, previously told Business Insider that he taught a six-year-old girl to memorize the names of all 44 US presidents using much the same technique.
Ultimately, Mann delivered his pitch seamlessly and went on to receive an offer from Kevin O'Leary (a.k.a. "Mr. Wonderful"): $100,000 for 35% of the company, with a royalty of $2 for every pair of earplugs sold until O'Leary got his money back. Mann turned down the offer, and has "zero regrets" about it.
As of 2017, Vibes had grown from an initial $33,000 investment to $2 million in sales.
"I'm happy with where we are today, where we've grown, and where we're going to continue to grow," Mann said.